Friday, June 30, 2017

Tax Evasion - Osinbajo Offers 9 Months Period Of Grace


Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has offered nine months grace period to tax evaders to regularise their tax status or face criminal prosecution for tax offences.

Osinbajo gave the ultimatum in Abuja on Thursday at the inauguration of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDs) saying that the scheme was specially targeted at taxpayers who had not declared their taxable incomes and assets, as well as those who don’t pay at all, and those who had been underpaying or under remitting.

Osinbajo said the scheme would cover all federal and state taxes such as companies’ income tax, personal income tax, petroleum profit tax, capital gains tax, stamp duties and tertiary education tax and will be in operation from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018.

Osinbajo declared that those who failed to take advantage of the nine months grace period would face criminal investigation and if found guilty may face up to five-years jail term adding that the government would immediately commence a nationwide sensitisation of Nigerians on the scheme and tax in general to ensure compliance.

“It will be supported by an executive order, which I will sign into law today to offer a once in a life time opportunity to those in default to regularise their tax affairs,” he said.

“In exchange for full and honest declaration, tax evaders will receive immunity from prosecution, forgiveness of penalty and interest that is due on unpaid taxes.

“They will also get the full assurance that all information provided will remain confidential. In addition, participants in the scheme will not be selected for audit investigation for the period.
“We understand that some tax payers may have problems raising cash and for that reason, we have built in a system that will allow those owing to pay over a period of time.

“To this end, we have agreed that every Thursday starting from today, and for the next one year will be declared Tax Thursday.”

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